Backup Document November 15, 2016: Board President Statement

Board President Statement


Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Horace Greeley High School

Last Monday, November 7th, Chris Schraufnagel pleaded guilty to 2 misdemeanor counts of child endangerment and 1 misdemeanor count of sexual abuse. The plea deal includes a mandatory registration as a sex offender. We thank New Castle Town Justice Kraus, the New Castle Police Department, and the Westchester County DA's office for their efforts in seeking legal justice.

The Chappaqua school district cooperated fully and completely with both the New Castle Police Department and the Westchester District Attorney's office throughout the entire investigation. Following that thorough investigation, the only criminal charges levied by the Westchester County District Attorney were those against Chris Schraufnagel.

With the concluding of the criminal case, there remain 5 civil suits against the district. These cases are in the early stages of litigation and we ask that people respect this process. We will not be commenting on those cases while the litigation continues.

These horrific acts to which he has pleaded guilty have had a deleterious impact on students, parents, community members and our staff. The violation of trust, the reality that no place is immune from this kind of predatory behavior has shaken us all. The Board has undertaken the important and critical task of reviewing the gross violation of district policies, regulations and decent human behavior by Chris Schraufnagel. Board Members Tipp and Mester have contacted the community group representatives to the Board advisory committee that will be shaping an RFP (Request for Proposal) that seeks a person or group to review our policies, regulations and attendant practices, provide education and training and will bring expertise in the field of preventing sexual abuse in an educational setting. This committee will be making recommendations to the Board. We expect this person or this group to include input from students, staff, administrators, the board and the community.

We wish the entire community to know too that while this review is of paramount importance, the Board and the District will continue its everyday work ensuring that ALL the students of the district, elementary, middle school and high school receive the best education we can offer in the safest environment we can provide.

The Board is completing its search for an Interim Superintendent. We expect to have an announcement in that regard shortly. Concurrently, the Board is working on the search process for hiring the next Superintendent.

Finally, we would like to thank our students, our staff and our community for the caring, concern and support. It does take a village to raise a child and it takes a community to educate a student.

On behalf of the entire district, we wish you a safe and joyous Thanksgiving.